Getting internet access will be one constant source of frustration on your visit to China if you rely heavily on being connected, and are used to a lightning-fast service. The Chinese authorities remain mistrustful of the internet, and censorship is heavy-handed. Around 10% of websites are blocked; sites such as Google may be slow while Google Maps and Gmail is blocked; social-networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are blocked (as is YouTube). Media such as the New York Times and Bloomberg are also blocked. Users can get around blocked websites by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service such as Astrill (www.astrill.com) or Vypr (www.goldenfrog.com/vyprvpn).

Occasionally email providers can go down, so having a back-up email address set up before you leave home is advised.

The majority of hostels and hotels have broadband internet access, and many hotels, cafes, restaurants and bars are wi-fi enabled. The wi-fi icon is used in Lonely Planet reviews where it is available.

Wi-fi

Wi-fi is available in most bars, cafes, restaurants and hotels. Remember that wi-fi is generally unsecured, so take care what kind of information you enter if you’re using a wireless connection. If you don't have your own computer, try the following spots for internet and wi-fi access: